Kolcaba's comfort theory
The theory of comfort was established in 1990s by Katharine Kolcaba.
The theory is based on the need of the patient and represents the holistic approach to nursing care. The theory of comfort could also be defined as mid-range theory as it concepts meet the requirements of healthcare disciplines and it could be implemented to many situations. The presented theory embraces the issue of comfort and the holistic ways on how to meet the needs of the patient.
Since the issue of comfort is the essence of the theory of Kolcaba, one should analyze the meaning of comfort in relation to the needs of the patients. Comfort is the desirable state of the patient when all basic needs are satisfied (Fitzpatrick & McCarthy, 2014, p. 23). Considering such definition of comfort, Kolcaba developed her theory basing on seven essential components. The first three components could be defined as the forms of comfort such as relief, ease, and transcendence (Fitzpatrick & McCarthy, 2014, p. 24).
- Relief is a beneficial state of the patient when specific comfort needs are met. For example if one experiences severe pain, then the consumption of proper painkillers will bring relief from the pain.
- Ease is a type of the comfort under which the patient experiences calmness, happiness, and satisfaction.
- The third form of comfort called transcendence is a state when patient feels inner confidence to face the challenges even if they are difficult to overcome.
All three form of comfort represent the basic needs that should be met to obtain the state of desirable comfort.
The next four components are holistic contexts in which a need for a comfort could appear. These are physical, psychospiritual, environmental, and sociocultural contexts (Fitzpatrick & McCarthy, 2014, p. 23).
- Physical context refers to the needs of the body.
- Psychospiritual area operates the issues of self-esteem and sexuality of the individual.
- Sociocultural aspect is connected to the family and interpersonal relationships of the patient.
- Lastly, environmental context relates to the external influences on the person (Masters, 2014, p. 335). Therefore, if the comfort is met in these four contexts, then the patient feels strong and confident.
In my opinion, the theory of comfort is highly useful in practice. It strives to embrace all aspects of comfort, which should be provided to the patients. Moreover, since, the person always tries to satisfy the basic need, the presented theory provides practical advises on how healthcare professional could meet them. In addition, since Kolcaba's theory includes the healthcare needs of the patients, best medical practices and solutions, and intervening variables, the patients treated under this theory of comfort will show best outcomes regarding their health. Furthermore, the particular theory also includes, spiritual, social and cultural support, which, in my opinion, contributes to the holistic positive response of the patient on the treatment.
I believe that the theory of comfort could be successfully applied during the procedure of bone marrow aspiration. Since it could be painful intervention even under anesthesia and many people are afraid of it, the patient will need to satisfy the basic needs in order to reduce the pain. Therefore, the task of the nurse is to create the positive and comfortable environment and take into consideration the needs of the patient regarding the doctor, room, and the level of anesthesia. If it is possible, the nurse should convince the patient that the procedure will help to identify the disease; hence, the patient should not perceive it as the suffering. Referring to psychospiritual context, the patient should be convinced that he/she has the strengths to face this procedure and that it will bring him positive outcome. Moreover, if it helps the patient to overcome fear, the nurse should inform that his/her relatives or friends support him in the next room. Thus, I am convinced that if such basic needs are satisfied, then the procedure will end without a discomfort for the patient.
To conclude, Kolcaba's theory of comfort provides the ways on how to satisfy the basic needs of the patient and why this issue is highly important for the health of the patient. The presented theory includes three forms of comfort and four holistic contexts where the need for a comfort could occur. In my opinion, Kolcaba's theory is highly successful in practice since it embraces all aspects of the patient's comfort. If the theory is implemented, then the patient will feel confident and strengthened.
Fitzpatrick, J., & McCarthy, G. (2014). Theories guiding nursing research and practice: Making nursing knowledge development explicit. Berlin: Springer.
Masters, K. (2014). Nursing theories: A framework for professional practice. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.